“What is the reward?” Darc eyed the mercenary with skepticism. Since he had taken up the role of sword-for-hire, he had learned through experience how to deal with royal army personalities. His skills as a forest scout were beyond most hunters, and so he was often sought but often scammed.
“You will be paid handsomely.” The thick man rumbled out, looking down at Darc. The man must have been the largest of Garigon’s army Darc had the pleasure of meeting.
“I am asking what is your reward for capturing a royal fugitive.”
The man grunted. “What the royal army rewards its men is of no concern to you.”
“Well then, your problem is of no concern to me.” Darc fingered his sword with a look of amusement across his face.
The soldier was, however, in no mood for joking. Sliding his sword from its hilt in a swift motion sent general panic through the small village pub. Darc ducked beneath the heavy blade and danced outside of the soldier’s reach.
“I take it my services are not needed after all. Please send my well wishes to your captain.” Darc escorted himself quickly from the premises, avoiding additional soldiers down the street. He would be taking his dinner in the forest then, which suited him fine.
The town of Bristyl lay just on the outskirts of the forest, parts of which were known to be haunted. Darc frequented the village for a taste of civilization at least once a week, usually with offers with hunts and travelers needing a guide through the forest.
Once safely under the shelter of leaves, Darc recalled the information the soldier provided. Garigon wasn’t the friendliest of the royals, and he had somehow laid siege to Firrum’s hunting house nestled inside the eastern edge of the forest. Firrum’s daughter was in residence at the siege but managed to escape through some unfound passageway the next day.
The next morning, the guards found her room empty, and an entire day of searching yielded no results. With Bristyl not more than half day’s ride on horseback, and Darc’s known scouting skills, a set of soldiers was sent for him.
Darc wanted to forget it, but he had spent his last at the pub earlier and was in need of revenue. The last activity he was interested in was locating missing royalty. He resignedly scuffed his boot along the forest floor and set a northerly path. If luck was with him, he may have the little sprite captured and unhappily returned before sunset the next day.